What is Presidents’ Day?
Actually, the official name for Presidents’ Day (which is sometimes spelled President’s Day) in the United States is Washington’s Birthday. It is a holiday celebrated in honor of the United States’ first president George Washington as his birthday is in February. However, though not officially, the holiday is gradually stretched to cover Abraham Lincoln, who also has his birthday in February, or sometimes all U.S presidents.
When is Presidents Day 2014?
Washington’s Birthday or Presidents’ Day is celebrated across the nation on the third Monday in February every year. Originally, this holiday was held on the exact date of George Washington’s birthday, which is on February 22. The Uniform Monday Holiday Bill that came into effect in the year 1971, however, moved the holiday to the third Monday of February.
As a result, Presidents Day 2014, commonly supposed to be the celebration of the lives of all U.S presidents, is held on February 17, which is a Monday.
Presidents Day 2014 Origin
The first president of the United States, George Washington, served two president terms from 1789 to 1793 and from 1793 to 1797. Even before becoming the president of the nation, he already played big roles in the military and led the American Continental Army to a victorious triumph over the British in the year 1783. He is often regarded as the father of the country and also the best known American politician in history.
George Washington’s popularity shows clearly in the way his name and image can be seen in many places all over the United States, apart from the Presidents Day 2014. The Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota features giant sculptures of the heads of George Washington and three other U.S presidents. Washington D.C, the capital of the United States, and three universities at the least are named after him. Washington’s image is also printed on the quarter dollar coin and the one dollar bill as well.
Presidents Day 2014 is the result of the first celebration of George Washington’s birthday (February 22) as a federal holiday in the 1880s. After that, in the year 1968, the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill was passed by the Congress to move a number of U.S federal holidays to Mondays. This change was intended to give U.S workers a number of long weekends on certain holidays throughout the year. Despite its good intentions, the bill actually received opposition from some people who were convinced that holidays should just be celebrated on the exact dates they commemorate. During debate on the bill, there was a proposal for Washington’s Birthday to be renamed Presidents’ Day to cover the birthday of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) as well. Although Lincoln’s birthday was also celebrated in a lot of states, it was not an official federal holiday. Although the Congress rejected that name change in the end, the name Presidents’ Day, however, become commonly accepted partly due to Lincoln birthday’s proximity to the holiday as well as retailers’ use of the name as a way to promote sales.The name is common in private businesses and some state or local governments. Today, most states have adopted Washington’s Birthday while some other states officially celebrate Presidents’ Day.
What do people do on Presidents Day 2014?
Although this holiday is officially held in honor of the life of President George Washington, it is sometimes meant to commemorate past presidents of the United States as well. Today it is well received and celebrated nationwide. Presidents’ Day is often marked by a number of large public ceremonies in Washington D.C and across the country.The original separate holidays of Washington and Lincoln are still observed in some communities, and pageants and reenactments are actually staged in many parks in their honor. The National Park Service also presents some historic sites and memorials to commemorate the lives of these two U.S presidents as well as other influential leaders. Every year, the George Washington Birthplace National Monument in Virginia holds a birthday celebration for Washington on both Presidents’ Day and his actual birthday. Visitors to the monument get to see special colonial activities throughout the day. For Presidents’ Day 2013, Mount Vernon, which is part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway today, features a birthday celebration weekend in honor of George Washington and free entry on the third Monday of February.
On Presidents’ Day, many businesses are still open as usual and many delivery services have a regular service, apart from the Post Office. However, not all public transit systems run on regular schedules on this day. Many people get the day off from work and some schools even close for a whole week for a mid-winter recess.
In the days or weeks before Presidents Day 2014, most schools usually organize various events or lessons to teach their students about George Washington and presidents of the United States in general. It is also a popular day for sales as ads of “Presidents’ Day Sales” are splashed all over local newspapers beforehand.